Commercial refrigeration in Europe: huge potential for saving money

Compared to "remote rack CO2" systems, a store using integral display cases with propane (R290) as a refrigerant could achieve savings of over EUR 50,000 over a 10 year period, according to a life-cycle analysis.

The global trend1 of the refrigeration field is a shift from high-GWP refrigerants, such as HFCs, to lower GWP refrigerants, such as hydrocarbons (propane, isobutane), or natural refrigerants (CO2, ammonia). Supermarkets and retailers in particular must rethink their refrigerating systems.

In this context, the multinational corporation Emerson commissioned a study comparing two different refrigeration system architectures that use low GWP refrigerants:

  • System A: remote display case architecture supplied by a centralised transcritical CO2 rack.
  • System B: integral display case architecture with integral compressors, working with R290 (propane).

The study focused on a typical European supermarket equipped with 10 display cases per store and a surface of approximately 1,000 m².

The following parameters were considered:

  • Investment, including all costs (planning, rack, free cooler, condenser, etc.) except display cases. Determined lifecycle costs were:  System A: EUR 142,000. System B: EUR 113,000.
  • Energy consumption, which is considered according to the temperature profile in Munich, Germany. The costs are evaluated as follows: System A: EUR 149,000. System B: EUR 136,000.
  • Service, maintenance and insurance. It was assumed that there was a fully comprehensive maintenance contact. The costs are evaluated as follows: System A: EUR 35,000. System B: EUR 29,000.

Other parameters such as the loss of performance due to leaks or refurbishment costs were taken into account.

All in all, a retailer could save more than EUR 50,000 over a 10 year period by using an integral display case system working with R290 in comparison with a remote display case system working with R744.

The study is available following this link.

1F-Gas regulation at European level, Kigali amendment at global level.

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